The Makkah Clock: Largest in the world
ساعة مكة.. أطول ساعة في العالم
05 JUN 2021
Source: Amal Bagazi
The largest clock tower in the world is a splendid masterpiece based at Makkah’s Abraj Al-Bait Towers and can easily be seen from all directions at a distance of up to 17 kilometers. Its lifespan stands at an expected 300 years depending on maintenance and it is six times the size of London’s Big Ben at 600 meters high.
The Makkah Clock is designed in an Islamic style, with each of the four clockfaces 43 meters in diameter. The tower weighs 36,000 metric tons and is mounted on a steel structure reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The short and long clock hands are 17 and 22 meters in length respectively; they weigh between 6,000 and 7,500 kilograms and are made from a carbon fiber composite normally used in space flight projects because of its lightweight properties. The clock hands’ interiors are accessible for any maintenance work.
World’s largest clockworks
Each of the four clockworks weighs 21 metric tons; therefore, they are the largest and heaviest of their kind ever built. The bronze gear wheels measure over one meter in diameter and are driven by special bearings and driveshafts. They have several control systems as well as an error detection system.
The clock gears are set with high precision and monitored with electronic measuring devices to ensure accuracy. Despite their large size, the gears are set within a chain with a variation of only 0.01 mm to ensure minimal friction.
In the middle of the clock is the Saudi national symbol. The top bears the phrase, “God Almighty”, while the two sides bear the phrase, “There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of God”. It also bears a crescent shape 23 meters in diameter.
The Makkah Clock receives its energy from solar panels in addition to the holy city’s power grid, which is used to illuminate 2 million LED lights at night and ensure the clock’s visibility. It is particularly lit on special religious occasions, with 16 light beams emanating from the tower. The top of the clock is bathed in green and white light during the call to prayer through 21,000 LEDs.